SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

Ray counters Ganguly
Says Dalmiya stood by him in crises 

Kolkata, July 23
Countering Sourav Ganguly’s allegation that Jagmohan Dalmiya “played” with his career, the Bengal batsman’s former legal counsel Siddhartha Shankar Ray today said the cricket administrator had taken up cudgels whenever the ex-Indian captain landed in trouble.

CAB Elections
No objection to independent observers: Dalmiya

Kolkata, July 23
Cricket Association of Bengal president Jagmohan Dalmiya today said that his group had no objection to the appointment of independent observers for the July 30 CAB elections.

Women to sport BCCI logo
Chennai, July 23
Indian women, for the first time in the history of the country’s cricket history, will be wearing the BCCI logo on their attire when they tour Ireland and  England.

ICPA to bid for recognition from BCCI
Kolkata, July 23
After years of inaction, the Indian Cricket Players’ Association (ICPA) is hoping to start a dialogue with the BCCI soon in its bid to gain recognition. “We are very hopeful of having some sort of a dialogue with the board soon,” ICPA vice-president Arun Lal told PTI here today.

Flintoff doubtful for Champions Trophy
London, July 23
Andrew Flintoff will miss the rest of the Pakistan series and his Champions Trophy participation hangs in the balance as the charismatic allrounder undergoes a further surgery on his ailing left ankle.

Aussies, Dutch record wins
Terrassa (Spain), July 23
Defending champions Australia began their campaign with a 3-2 win over Pakistan while Spain and Germany drew 1-1 and the Netherlands beat Argentina 4-2 on the opening day of the Champions Trophy hockey tournament here yesterday.
Pakistan’s Sohail Abbas fights for the ball with Australia’s Grant Schubert during a Champions Trophy match in Terrassa, Spain, on Saturday Pakistan’s Sohail Abbas (left) fights for the ball with Australia’s Grant Schubert during a Champions Trophy match in Terrassa, Spain, on Saturday. Australia won 3-2. — AP/PTI photo





Serbia & Montenegro’s Novak Djokovic holds the trophy after defeating Chile’s Nicolas Massu in the final of the Dutch Open tennis tournament in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, on Sunday
Serbia & Montenegro’s Novak Djokovic holds the trophy after defeating Chile’s Nicolas Massu in the final of the Dutch Open tennis tournament in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, on Sunday. Djokovic won 7-6, 6-4. — AFP



EARLIER STORIES




Indian motor sports bodies set to merge
Chennai, July 23
Two warring bodies — Federation of Motor Sports Clubs in India (FMSCI) and Motorsport Association of India (MAI) — are all set to merge following an order from Federation Internationale De L’Automobile (FIA).

Sania-Marta storm into final
Mason (Ohio), July 23
Sania Mirza and Poland’s Marta Domachowska stormed into the women’s doubles final, setting up a title clash with top seeds Maria Elena Camerin and Gisela Dulko at the $ 175,000 Cincinnati Open tennis tournament here. The third-seeded Indo-Polish pair thrashed Chan Chin-Wei of Taiwan and Tetiana Luzhanska of Ukraine 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinals of the Tier III WTA event yesterday. Their final opponents Camerin of Italy and Dulko of Argentine tamed fifth seeds Emma Laine of Finland and Hana Sromova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-2 in another semifinal tie on the hard surface.
Russia’s Vera Zvonareva celebrates after defeating Serena Williams of the USA in the semifinal of the Cincinnati Open tennis tournament in Ohio on Saturday. Zvonareva won 6-2, 6-3. — Reuters

Russia’s Vera Zvonareva celebrates after defeating Serena Williams of the USA in the semifinal of the Cincinnati Open tennis tournament in Ohio on Saturday

Tiger Woods tees-off in the fourth round of the 135th British Open Golf Championships in Hoylake on Sunday Tiger Woods wins British Open
Hoylake, July 23
Tiger Woods became the first man to retain the British Open title in 23 years today when he produced a clinical five-under par final round 67 to win by two shots and secure his 11th career major.
Tiger Woods tees-off in the fourth round of the 135th British Open Golf Championships in Hoylake on Sunday. — AFP photo

Chopra eyes top-10 finish
Endicott (USA), July 23
Arjun Atwal’s romance with the par-four ninth hole continued as the Orlando-based Indian hit his second eagle on the hole to finish tied 27th on the penultimate day of the $ 3 million BC Open at the Atunyote Golf Course here. After yesterday’s outing of three-under 69, Atwal aggregates seven-under 209 in three rounds.

Jeev finishes tied fifth
Hokkaido, July 23
India’s top golfer Jeev Milkha Singh continued his impressive run in Japan, logging his fifth top-10 finish in just seven starts with a one-under 71 on the final day of the 120 million Yen Sega Sammy Cup.

Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu celebrates his victory after the 15-day Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in Aichi Prefecture on Sunday
Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu celebrates his victory after the 15-day Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in Aichi Prefecture on Sunday. Asashoryu captured his 17th career Emperor’s Cup. — AFP

Floyd Landis wins Tour de France
Paris, July 23
American Floyd Landis won the Tour de France here following the 20th and final stage today to succeed compatriot Lance Armstrong. Landis came over the finish line of the race’s final stage, held over 154km between Antony and the Champs Elysees, after the victory of Norwegian Thor Hushovd.

India off to winning start
Chennai, July 23
India commenced their hunt for honours on a good note beating Zimbabwe in straight games in their first pool match of the 14th World Junior Men’s Squash Championship in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Shooters win two bronze
Zagreb (Croatia), July 23
Indian junior men did the country proud by winning a bronze medal in the 10m air pistol team event at the ISSF World Shooting Championship here today. India tallied 1716 points with Amanpreet Jhaam firing an excellent 575 points while Bapu Vanjare and Zakir Khan shot 571 and 570, respectively. China won the gold with 1726 points while Russia finished second with 1717.

 


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Ray counters Ganguly
Says Dalmiya stood by him in crises 

Kolkata, July 23
Countering Sourav Ganguly’s allegation that Jagmohan Dalmiya “played” with his career, the Bengal batsman’s former legal counsel Siddhartha Shankar Ray today said the cricket administrator had taken up cudgels whenever the ex-Indian captain landed in trouble.

Ray, a leading barrister who served as Ganguly’s counsel twice when the left-hander was engaged in bitter fights with the ICC in 2004 and 2005, said he was ‘depressed’ and ‘disheartened’ at the souring of relations between the player and the veteran cricket administrator.

“That their friendship could come to such a pass has left me depressed and disheartened,” the octogenarian former CAB President said when his attention was drawn to Ganguly’s explosive e-mail where the local boy raised the banner of revolt against the CAB president yesterday.

In 2004, then Indian captain Ganguly was served a two-Test ban by match referee Clive Lloyd for the team’s slow over rate during the India-Pakistan BCCI platinum jubilee one-dayer at Eden Gardens.

Ray, a former West Bengal Chief Minister, took over the case and the ICC-appointed arbitrator Tim Castle adjudged that Ganguly was not in the wrong and lifted the suspension.

In 2005, Ganguly was again pulled up for the same offence during the Indo-Pak one-day series and ICC referee Chris Broad gave him a six-match suspension. Ray, again appointed Ganguly’s counsel, succeeded in reducing the punishment to a four-ODI ban.

“On both these occasions, I saw Dalmiya fighting hard for Sourav. It looked as if he is fighting for his son,” Ray told newspersons.

Ray, however, added that he had no intention of holding a brief for the either of the two in the aftermath of the e-mail controversy. “Ganguly is a brilliant cricketer, a good opener and a good bowler,” he said.

Ray also found fault with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee’s statement that he wanted Dalmiya to stay away from the CAB presidential polls slated for July 30. “I was chief minister for five years (1972-77). But I had never interfered in the affairs of a sports body. This is not the right thing to do,” he said.

Criticising the nomination of city police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee as the presidential challenger against Dalmiya, Ray said, “I have been coming to the Eden Gardens since 1938. But I never have I seen a police commissioner serve as CAB president”. “Bureaucrats and police commissioners have to work under tremendous pressure. They are overworked. They hardly have any spare time,” he said.

Coming down heavily on the Sharad Pawar-led BCCI for keeping Ganguly out of the Indian team, Ray said, “The way Sourav was dropped was unfair. He was then doing well”. — PTI 

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CAB Elections
No objection to independent observers: Dalmiya

Kolkata, July 23
Cricket Association of Bengal president Jagmohan Dalmiya today said that his group had no objection to the appointment of independent observers for the July 30 CAB elections.

Briefing newspersons after an emergency meeting of CAB office-bearers, Dalmiya said, “We are not at all against the appointment of observers. If the court comes out with an order we will welcome it.”

The anti-Dalmiya faction had moved the city civil court on July 17 seeking appointment of an independent observer to ensure that the elections were free and fair.

Chief judge of the City Civil Court P.K. Sarkar on Friday suggested to petitioner Samar Pal and respondent Dalmiya that they propose a name each for the post of observer so that two names could be considered if both the parties consented.

The judge adjourned the matter and said that both the parties could come up with their names tomorrow.

CAB affiliate Aryans Club’s assistant general secretary Pal, a known Dalmiya-baiter, had moved court on July 17 praying for appointment of observer for the CAB election. — PTI 

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Women to sport BCCI logo

Chennai, July 23
Indian women, for the first time in the history of the country’s cricket history, will be wearing the BCCI logo on their attire when they tour Ireland and England.

Expressing her happiness on the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s decision to support their women counterparts, Subhangi Kulkarni, former India captain and current secretary of the Women’s Cricket Association of India, told PTI from Mumbai that it would help them to break new grounds.

“We are more than happy on the BCCI’s support. I am sure good days are ahead for our players and it should also augur well for clinching top rank, though we lost the World Cup finals last year”.

The team is leaving tomorrow from Mumbai to Dublin via London for the tour, which would commence with the back-to-back one day matches with Ireland, the first of which will be played on July 29.

The BCCI is the last permanent member of the International Cricket Council to recognise and merge the women’s federation with it.

“We express our thanks to its president Sharad Pawar and everyone concerned in the BCCI,” she said.

“Those were the days that we used to go with begging bowls to find money for sending our team abroad and also to organise matches in India. Now, we are all relieved that the BCCI’s help is there. More than this, we give more credence to their decision in extending the facilities at various venues in India to women cricketers.”

The 14-member Indian team led by Mithali Raj, after the matches against Ireland, will play five one dayers and two test matches besides a 20-20 side tie. — PTI

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ICPA to bid for recognition from BCCI

Kolkata, July 23
After years of inaction, the Indian Cricket Players’ Association (ICPA) is hoping to start a dialogue with the BCCI soon in its bid to gain recognition.
“We are very hopeful of having some sort of a dialogue with the board soon,” ICPA vice-president Arun Lal told PTI here today.

Lal said the Indian cricketers, who will assemble in Bangalore towards the end of the month for two back-to-back camps ahead of the Sri Lanka tri-series, were likely to utilise the opportunity to confabulate on matters related to the ICPA.

“When the players join the camp, there may be something. They could hold discussions about the direction they want the ICPA to take,” Lal said and insisted it was for the likes of captain Rahul Dravid and veteran Anil Kumble to take the call.

The ICPA could look to gain from leggie Kumble’s wisdom as he is based in Bangalore and had played a major role as the players’ representative in stitching together the graded payments contract with the board.

The Indians will undergo a fitness camp in Bangalore from July 25 to August 1 followed by a cricket skills specific camp from August 6 to 10 before leaving for the Sri Lankan capital on the night of August 10.

The ICPA, formed with much fanfare in October, 2002, at a five-star hotel in Kolkata, has been a virtual non-starter in the absence of any positive vibes from the board.

The earlier board regime, led by Jagmohan Dalmiya, refused to have anything to do with the body and kept it out of all discussions pertaining to the players’ interests.

But the change of guard in the board has made the ICPA optimistic. “The present set of office-bearers have a very positive approach. They’ve given the highest priority to players’ interests,” Lal said, praising the Sharad Pawar-led BCCI 
dispensation.

“They have done well in every sphere since they took over late last year. And, frankly speaking, the results they have achieved are for all to see. And so, I think, we can be reasonably justified in thinking that we will also get a good deal from them,” said Lal. — PTI

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Flintoff doubtful for Champions Trophy

London, July 23
Andrew Flintoff will miss the rest of the Pakistan series and his Champions Trophy participation hangs in the balance as the charismatic allrounder undergoes a further surgery on his ailing left ankle.

Flintoff, who saw a specialist yesterday, will be operated upon early next week and the rehabilitation and recovery is expected to take another 12 weeks, thus making it a race against the time for him to be in shape before the ICC Champions Trophy.

The tournament begins in India exactly in 12 weeks’ time and is followed by the Ashes series Down Under.

Strauss retains captaincy

Andrew Strauss will remain captain for the remainder of England’s Test series against Pakistan. The selectors have named a 14-man squad for the second Test against Pakistan at Old Trafford, which starts on Thursday.

“Liam Plunkett injured himself playing for Durham against West Indies A and his fitness will need to be reassessed over next 48 hours.”

The inclusion of Middlesex allrounder Jamie Dalrymple would give the team more options, Graveney said. — UNI, Reuters 

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Aussies, Dutch record wins

Terrassa (Spain), July 23
Defending champions Australia began their campaign with a 3-2 win over Pakistan while Spain and Germany drew 1-1 and the Netherlands beat Argentina 4-2 on the opening day of the Champions Trophy hockey tournament here yesterday.

With the mercury nudging 38°C, Pakistan turned the heat on the Kookaburras in the opening match but Australia opened the scoring in the first three minutes through Michael McCann.

Pakistan were level minutes before the break as Sohail Abbas scored from a penalty.

In the second half, Troy Elder made the difference for Australia, converting two penalty corners, while Abbas responded with his second penalty.

Australian assistant coach Colin Batch paid tribute to “a quality team” that forced his side onto the back foot in the latter stages of the game.

“They made a lot of good saves from the good chances we created for ourselves and we had to defend at the end to secure the victory,” he added.

In the second match of the day, Germany got off to a flying start against the tournament hosts thanks to a goal by Tibor Weissenborn in the first five minutes.

He took the ball all the way from his own half into the Spanish circle to slide it past goalkeeper Bernadino Herrera from the left backline.

Despite their control and short passing, Spain were unable to break through the German defence until five minutes before the final whistle when Santiago Freixa scored from a penalty corner.

German coach Bernhard Peters bemoaned his team’s missed chances.

“In the second half, we had three or four good chances to score the second goal but our young strikers were not calm enough in Spain’s circle to capitalise on the chances,” he said.

Spain’s Maurits Hendriks claimed his players had struggled to find their touch.

In the day’s last match, three penalty-corner conversions by Netherlands’ Taeke Taekema helped seal a 4-2 score against Argentina.

Teun de Nooijer scored a brilliant individual goal to round off the scoring for the Dutch, while Pedro Ibarra and Lucas Cammareri found the net for the losers. — AFP

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Indian motor sports bodies set to merge

Chennai, July 23
Two warring bodies — Federation of Motor Sports Clubs in India (FMSCI) and Motorsport Association of India (MAI) — are all set to merge following an order from Federation Internationale De L’Automobile (FIA).

Former FMSCI President Vicky Chandhok, a regular at FIA meetings, told PTI here today the merger should certainly go through and there was “no speculation” about it.

“It will mean a huge growth for the sport in India,” he added.

“FMSCI has given a commitment to the FIA that it will be more than happy to follow the findings and decisions of Vijay Mallya, nominated as Chairman for resolving the vexed issue . The seven-year hitch is gone,” Chandhok said.

FMSCI, founded in 1971, had been a full member of FIA from 1979 to October 6, 1999, with 110 affiliated member clubs when the National Sporting Authority (ASN) status was transferred to MAI “without determining its merit” as to whether it was a national sports federation, Chandhok said.

He said if the FIA ASN right was not awarded to India, Indian motor sports administrators would have to take permission for holding events (as per FIA statutes) from a neighbouring nation like Sri Lanka or Malaysia and Indian drivers should obtain licence from the ASN concerned.

“I am a relieved man now since Mallya has been provided with all documentary evidence on the FMSCI’s stand in respect of the merger. If the sport is considered larger than the individual, motor sports can move forward to greater heights in India,” Chandhok said.

He said the youth were much more interested in motor sports ever since Narain Karthikeyan became the lone Indian Formula One driver last season.

This has also encouraged Karthikeyan to start an academy in his native Coimbatore. Three car manufacturers, including Hyundai and General Motors, have chipped in to test engines in the National Road Racing scene this year, he said.

“All this is proof enough of the huge growth of the sport in India,” he added.

FIA had, by its July 6 order, directed its nominee Mallya to ensure that the two groups worked under one umbrella, failing which it (FIA) would be forced to de-recognise both of them.

Mallya was scheduled to discuss the merger issue with Nasir Hoosein, MAI President, this month for sending his proposals to the FIA before September 1, said Chandhok.

“MAI has not given any commitment to FIA at its Paris meeting. But there is no cut-off date. Mallya is likely to send his findings before the stipulated time and there is no pre-condition to the ASN rights also”.

On both groups facing de-recognition, Chandhok clarified that not recognising either FMSCI or MAI and extending it’s ASN rights to another body from India “amounts to yet another violation of FIA statutes”.

He said FIA derived its power by pooling in the national sporting power of the country concerned as per Article 3 of its constitution. All International Sports Federations respect the respective country’s norms in providing recognition.

“FMSCI is the only body recognised for motor sports by India,” he said.

This is the second time in seven years that FIA has nominated Mallya as Chairman for the two bodies. Mallya failed to resolve the issue in 1999 but informed the FIA World Council (on October 6, 1999) that FMSCI had indeed made progress, despite having been given only six months time to do so.

ASN rights was transferred to MAI at the FIA’s Paris meeting on the ground that FMSCI failed to respect the programme for “internal restructuring”.

The differences between FMSCI and Hoosein started when the latter was replaced as Asian representative in June, 1999.

This provoked FIA President, Max Mosely to issue sanctions against the FMSCI and appoint Yuon Leon, FIA Consultant for Foreign Affairs, to investigate into the functioning of FMSCI.

Hoosein was also the Indian representative on behalf of FMSCI from 1979 to 1999 at the FIA meetings, the post he relinquished later.

Meanwhile, a number of drivers, who compete in the JK Tyre National Roadracing Championship, in its eighth consecutive year, told PTI that it would be a blessing in disguise if they were to get licences by the Sri Lankan or Malaysian ASN, which will be easy to obtain. — PTI 

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Sania-Marta storm into final

Mason (Ohio), July 23
Sania Mirza and Poland’s Marta Domachowska stormed into the women’s doubles final, setting up a title clash with top seeds Maria Elena Camerin and Gisela Dulko at the $ 175,000 Cincinnati Open tennis tournament here.

The third-seeded Indo-Polish pair thrashed Chan Chin-Wei of Taiwan and Tetiana Luzhanska of Ukraine 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinals of the Tier III WTA event yesterday. Their final opponents Camerin of Italy and Dulko of Argentine tamed fifth seeds Emma Laine of Finland and Hana Sromova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-2 in another semifinal tie on the hard surface.

The Indian, whose singles challenge ended after going down to defending champion and top seed Patty Schnyder of Switzerland in her first quarterfinal of the season, will stake claim on her second doubles title this year and third overall.

She last won the doubles title alongside Liezel Huber of South Africa as second seeds at the Bangalore Open in February.

Sania, who is at her career best 33rd rank in the doubles, will be making her fifth final appearance with a 2-2 win/loss WTA Tour career record.

Zvonareva knocks out Serena

Cincinnati: Serena Williams’s first tournament in six months ended as Vera Zvonareva ousted the seven-time Grand Slam champion in the semifinals of this WTA hardcourt event.

The unseeded Russian, ranked 50th in the world, made short work of Serena, needing little more than an hour to post a 6-2, 6-3 victory yesterday.

It wasn’t the ending Serena had hoped for in her first outing since the Australian Open in January.

After her long layoff battling a nagging knee injury — an absence that saw her drop to 139th in the world — Serena had won her first three matches here without dropping a set.

Top seed and defending champion Patty Schnyder was also toppled, falling in three sets to Slovenia’s Katarina Srebotnik.

The fourth-seeded Srebotnik wrapped up the 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) victory when Schnyder double faulted on match point.

“To be in the final, I feel very honored,” said Srebotnik, who is seeking her first title of the year. “My goal, to be honest, was just to win the first and second rounds.”

Srebotnik lost to Zvonareva in their only previous encounter, on clay in 2002. — PTI, AFP

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Tiger Woods wins British Open

Hoylake, July 23
Tiger Woods became the first man to retain the British Open title in 23 years today when he produced a clinical five-under par final round 67 to win by two shots and secure his 11th career major.

Having triumphed at St Andrews last year, Woods matched compatriot Tom Watson’s feat of back-to-back titles in 1982 and 83.

Woods began the day one clear and once he eagled the fifth he never looked in danger of ending his streak of winning all 10 previous majors having led after three rounds.

Fellow American Chris DiMarco, who briefly got within a shot after 13 holes, finished second on 16-under after a 68 while Ernie Els was third on 13-under after a 71. — Reuters

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Chopra eyes top-10 finish

Endicott (USA), July 23
Arjun Atwal’s romance with the par-four ninth hole continued as the Orlando-based Indian hit his second eagle on the hole to finish tied 27th on the penultimate day of the $ 3 million BC Open at the Atunyote Golf Course here. After yesterday’s outing of three-under 69, Atwal aggregates seven-under 209 in three rounds.

Indo-Swede Daniel Chopra carried forward his impressive form and returned an excellent four under card with five birdies to finish the day at tied 15th.

Chopra, who aggregates nine-under 207, is five shots off the leader, fellow Swede Gabriel Hjertstedt, and would be eyeing a top-10 finish in the final round.

Atwal, who started ominously with a bogey on the 11th, saw fortune smiling on him as soon as he made the turn. He sunk in a birdie on the first hole and then gained another stroke on the fourth.

He signed off the day in style, repeating his round-one feat — an eagle — on the ninth. Atwal has gained five strokes on the hole in the past three days.

Chopra, meanwhile, began with a bang as he gained a stroke on the very first hole. He struck another birdie on the third before dropping one shot on the ninth — the only blemish in an otherwise flawless outing.

On his return journey, he again started with a birdie and went on to hit two more on the 12th and the 14th. — UNI

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Jeev finishes tied fifth

Hokkaido, July 23
India’s top golfer Jeev Milkha Singh continued his impressive run in Japan, logging his fifth top-10 finish in just seven starts with a one-under 71 on the final day of the 120 million Yen Sega Sammy Cup.

Jeev totalled three-under 285 for the week and ended tied fifth to win 4,560,000 yen ( $ 40,000).

Yeh Wei Tze of Taiwan won the title with a superb finish that saw him birdie the last three holes for a bogey-free six-under 66 and a total of 12-under 276. He registered a four-shot win over Hidemasa Hoshino (69).

Liang Wen Chong (70) and Yano Azuma (72) were tied for third at four-under followed by Jeev (71) and Chawalit Plaphol (72), who were tied fifth at three-under.

Jeev said he could have finished still better but for his putting. “I wish I had putted better. But I am very happy with my ball striking and overall play,” said Jeev, who needed 29 putts on two of the four days and went over 31 putts on the other two. — PTI

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Floyd Landis wins Tour de France

Floyd Landis of the USA rejoices after winning the Tour de France cycling race in Paris on Sunday
Floyd Landis of the USA rejoices after winning the Tour de France cycling race in Paris on Sunday. — Reuters photo

Paris, July 23
American Floyd Landis won the Tour de France here following the 20th and final stage today to succeed compatriot Lance Armstrong.
Landis came over the finish line of the race’s final stage, held over 154km between Antony and the Champs Elysees, after the victory of Norwegian Thor Hushovd.

Hushovd surged to his second stage win of the race, after his prologue victory, after outsprinting Australian Robbie McEwen 100 metres before the finish line. Another Australian, Stuart O’Grady of CSC, finished third on the stage just ahead of the bunch.

Landis, 30, becomes the third winner of the race from the United States.

Greg LeMond was the first American to win the yellow jersey in 1986 and the first American to win it three times having also triumphed in 1989 and 1990.

Armstrong’s seven-year reign as the race champion came to an end last year when he retired from the sport.

Landis won the race with a lead of 59 seconds on Spaniard Oscar Pereiro of Caisse d’Epargne. Pereiro had been leading the Tour with a 30 second lead on Landis on the penultimate stage time trial.

However, the American produced a convincing performance over 57km of the race’s second and final race against the clock yesterday to take the yellow jersey for the third time in the race. — AFP

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India off to winning start

Chennai, July 23
India commenced their hunt for honours on a good note beating Zimbabwe in straight games in their first pool match of the 14th World Junior Men’s Squash Championship in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

After Sandeep Jangra crafted a 9-6, 9-1, 9-5 win over Deepesh Patel in the first singles, Delhi’s Harinderpal of the India Cements Squash Academy disposed of Ahmed Hassan 9-2, 9-5, 9-6, while another Delhi-based player Naresh completed the tally with a superb 9-4, 9-1, 9-0 win over Zardeen Wasir.

India, seeded seventh in the prestigious championship, will play Ireland tomorrow before taking on archrivals Pakistan and South Africa on Tuesday. — PTI

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Shooters win two bronze

Zagreb (Croatia), July 23
Indian junior men did the country proud by winning a bronze medal in the 10m air pistol team event at the ISSF World Shooting Championship here today.
India tallied 1716 points with Amanpreet Jhaam firing an excellent 575 points while Bapu Vanjare and Zakir Khan shot 571 and 570, respectively. China won the gold with 1726 points while Russia finished second with 1717.

Harven Srao added another medal to the Indian kitty when she claimed the bronze medal in the 10m air pistol for junior women.

Srao fired 382 (91, 94, 99, 98) to book third place behind China’s Liu Weiwei and Brankica Zaric of Serbia and Montenegro, both of whom scored 384 points.

However, the Indian junior women’s team had to be content with fifth place in the event. The team of Srao (382), Shweta Chaudhry (374) and Fatima Nausheen (370) tallied 1126 points.

China claimed the gold medal with 1139 points. Korea and Serbia and Montenegro finished second and third with 1132 and 1130, respectively.

However, the story was not so happy for the seniors as the hero of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games Samresh Jung finished a poor 31st in the event tallying 576 points.

Other Indian shooters in the fray were further behind as Vivek Singh finished with a point less in 44th place while Ronak Pandit languished in 98th place with 566 points.

China’s Wei Pang fired 584 to grab first place ahead of Jakkrit Panichpatikum of Thailand who managed 582. Russia’s Vladmir Gontcharov was one point behind to take the bronze.

The poor scores from Indian shooters meant the team finished 14th in the event with an aggregate of 1717 points. China took the top honours with a total of 1747 points. Russia came second with 1745 points while the third spot went to France, who were a further 12 points behind. — PTI

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 BRIEFLY

Contract row in New Zealand
Christchurch
: After India and West Indies, it is the turn of New Zealand Cricket to deal with players’ standoff over a contract row, ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy in October later this year.
The NZC wants players to sign in advance participation contracts for ICC-governed events such as the World Cup and Champions Trophy but the players are unwilling because of their individual image and sponsorship rights, resulting in the delay in inking the new collective contract. The agreement, which was due to have been signed on June 1, is almost two months overdue, New Zealand Herald reported on Sunday. — PTI


Stop being matey with England, selector Merv urges Aussies.

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Bhat opts out
New Delhi
: After top players skipped Badminton Association of India’s ambitious project 2010 designed for the Commonwealth Games, Arvind Bhat, the lone top men’s player in the programme, has opted out of a training stint in Malaysia with an ankle sprain.
Bhat has returned to Bangalore to undergo proper rehabilitation and now it would be mainly the junior players, including Saina Nehwal, who would be sparring with their Malaysian counterparts till August 8. — PTI

Cricket tourney
CHAMBA
: Kiwi Boys won the Minjar Fair cricket tournament beating the Chamba police by three wickets here on Sunday.
The Chamba police won the toss and elected to bat. They had a bad start as they lost three quick wickets but it was Varinder who batted well and took the score to 120 in 27 overs. In reply, Kiwi Boys reached the target of 121 after losing seven wickets. — OC

Shoaib Akhtar
London
: Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar says the recurrence of his knee injury, which has forced him out of the early part of the crucial England tour, was a result of his over enthusiasm.
Akhtar said his desperation to return to international cricket prompted him to start training before he had fully recuperated from an earlier injury. — PTI 

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